Goats and Soda
1:35 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Is HIV Evolving Into A Weaker Virus?

HIV is like a jack-in-the-box: When it binds to a cell, its shell (yellow) pops open, and its genetic material (reds) comes out.
Eye of Science Science Source

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:05 pm

Viruses are masters at mutating.

So the big concern with deadly viruses, like Ebola and hepatitis C, is that they will evolve into more dangerous forms over time.

It looks like just the opposite is happening with HIV — although it's happening slowly.

"HIV can generate any mutation in the book, on any day," says virologist Philip Goulder at the University of Oxford.

Read more
12:03 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Earliest Human Engraving Or Trash From An Ancient Lunch?

An inside view of this fossil Pseudodon shell shows that the hole made by Homo erectus is exactly at the spot where the muscle attached to the shell. Poking at that spot would force the shell open.
Henk Caspers Naturalis Leiden/The Netherlands

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:52 pm

Scientists have discovered enigmatic markings on an ancient shell that's been sitting in a museum for more than a century — and they believe this may be the oldest known example of a deliberate geometric engraving made by a human hand.

Read more
The Salt
11:42 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Our Ability To Digest Alcohol May Have Been Key To Our Survival

Rotten, fermented fruit has some nutritional value, and may have looked pretty good to our hungry ancient ancestors. Evolving the ability to metabolize the alcohol in fermented fruit may have helped us adapt to a changing climate 10 million years ago, research suggests.

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 9:51 am

As we're sipping away on a glass of stout or Merlot, we probably take for granted our ability to digest the alcohol in the drink. Alcohol, or dietary ethanol (as scientists like to call it), is technically a toxin — imbibing too much can lead to a hangover and even poisoning, of course.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

FDA Considers Allowing Blood Donations From Some Gay Men

Several countries, including Australia, Japan and Great Britain, already encourage blood donations from some gay men.
Kevin Curtis Getty Images/Science Photo Library

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:50 am

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revising a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

An FDA advisory committee Tuesday mulled the issues raised by changing the policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 2:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

Read more
NPR Story
3:59 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Study Shows Riding The Quiet Car Is Crushing Your Spirit

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



Read more
3:22 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Tumbling Oil Prices Give A Boost To Drivers During The Holidays

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 4:16 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



Read more
Goats and Soda
11:29 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Ebola In The Air: What Science Says About How The Virus Spreads

Viruses can spread through the air in two ways: inside large droplets that fall quickly to the ground (red), or inside tiny droplets that float in the air (gray). In the first route, called droplet transmission, the virus can spread only about 3 to 6 feet from an infected person. In the second route, called airborne transmission, the virus can travel 30 feet or more.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:58 am

Here's an Ebola puzzle for you: If the virus isn't airborne, why do doctors and nurses need to wear full protective suits, with face masks, while treating patients?

After we dug through studies and talked to scientists, the answer slowly emerged.

Ebola does spread through the air. But not through the airborne route.

Oh, goodness! No wonder there's been such a kerfuffle about how the virus is transmitted.

Read more
4:08 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Taking Stock Of America's Toxic Sites And The Millions Living Near Them

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:12 am

An article in the December issue of National Geographic looks at toxic waste sites in the U.S. and the more than 49 million Americans who live near them. NPR's Eric Westervelt talks with writer Paul Voosen about his piece.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit


Read more
New Boom
3:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Millennials Might Be 'Generation Twin.' Is That A Bad Thing?

Mike (left) and Matt (right) Gragnani are 25-year-old identical twins. Together, they've been able to buy an apartment and start a business before many of their peers.
Courtesy of Mike Gragnani

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 5:29 pm

There are more twins in the "millennial generation" than any other generation, thanks partly to a twin boom in the '90s. The main reason was a new technology called in vitro fertilization, which in its early days frequently produced twins, triplets and other multiple births.

The result? A million "extra" twins born between 1981 and 2012.

And all of them might be hurting the economy.

Read more